Norwegian soldier takes
aim at Russian troops during urban battle for Alta
Alta, Norway (ENN) - At 6 am most of the world
awoke to a new sunrise, but in this secluded part of the world the sun
is barely seen in the winter months. The perpetual darkness coupled with the malaise of a bitter winter's storm
only seems to underscore the grim scenery of a land at war.
Indeed, just before 6 am local time Russian helicopters were seen maneuvering in the vicinity north of Alta. Norwegian units defending the town fired on Russian helicopter units, reportedly downing several of them. The Russian probes were twice rebuffed and a mechanized advance that materialized from along the E-6 was met with heavy resistance.
Although it seemed at first the Russian may have reconsidered their assault, by early morning
their mechanized infantry units had crossed
the Saga river, bypassed Kronstad, and moved north towards the airport at Elvesbakken.
The Norwegian units that had earlier turned back the helicopter probes
again made their stand, but were decimated by a combined force of tanks and mechanized infantry while only achieving minimal gains. The Russians succeeded in crossing the Altaelva river and taking the airport there.
Battle Enters the Streets of Alta
Norwegian defenders in the town turned the Russian advance into a house-to-house
fight - an unenviable prospect for any army on the attack. As a sign of their desperation, the Russians responded by deliberately demolishing homes with helicopter rockets and indiscriminately firing
tank rounds into the town to trap the soldiers hidden within.
Despite their seeming disregard for civilian casualties, the Russian advance
was slow and another unit's attack from south of Alta contributed little to
the effort. The battle was reduced to the oxymoronic notion of "hugging", where the combatants are so close they
are unable to employ their heavier weapons - like artillery - for fear of killing their own.
The battle was finally decided shortly before 10 am local time when a column of Russian heliborne infantry surrounded the town. The local Norwegian commander communicated his surrender to the Russians and the town was surrendered without further combat.
The Russian commander in the area has since assured western media outlets that all NATO POW's are being
well treated and have been removed from the threat of further combat.
NATO Airstrikes Hamper Russian Logistics
However, the Russian victory is not without its costs. NATO air forces
have made repeated strikes against not only Alta but the Tana region as
well. To date it is reported that all bridges in the area have been
demolished. This is certain to effect Russian resupply efforts,
particularly for units further south.
"By assuring the neutrality of Sweden and Finland, the Russians
seem destined to have granted themselves a very narrow supply
corridor," commented one analyst.
"It's very accommodating of them to establish that chokepoint to
NATO. Of course considering their track record of failure in dealing
with the third-world quality Chechan rebels, perhaps the Russians
realize they don't want to engage too many modern armies
The air strikes are said to be taking their toll not only on Russian
supply lines but also on assets in the area. Russian aircraft have been
seen shot out of the sky and even more damage is reported on the ground
with numerous vehicles burning and long trains of casualties being
evacuated to rear areas.